In times gone by, reputation has been created by word of mouth in order to establish, build and maintain a brand. Today’s modern society maintains the same principles, but word of mouth is transmitted globally over social media platforms and digital communication channels.
A company’s reputation is essential to survival, with trust and confidence playing a huge role in the company’s long-term success. Online reputation is therefore, of ever-growing importance.
Not only must a company become aware of their reputation on a constant basis, but it should also prepared for crisis management. A good, long-standing reputation online can lend a business an edge over its rivals. It also enhances its support in times of crisis or controversy, as well as the future value of the organisation in the marketplace.
Not only can social media and company websites be important tools for trust, responsiveness and communication; they can also be an invaluable way of gaining a good reputation. Your online reputation can be as simple as having a presence through social media and a customer feedback response strategy, but there are further ways in which it can be enhanced. Here are five tips to improve your online reputation:
Make the most of your resources
Make your company accessible and easy to find: This can be done by the use of keywords and phrases which people will typically type into search engines to find your company. The higher your visibility on Google, the stronger your company’s reputation will be.
Maintain a strong presence on social media: This will give consumers a familiarity with your brand before they even deal with your company – helping you to find new customers and maintain existing ones. It’s also a great communication tool, so you can respond to customers personally and directly, as well as address large amounts of people in an efficient manner.
Employees are potentially a company’s biggest advocates. If your staff are on board with what your company does and its messaging, they’re more likely to speak highly about it, both in person and online. However, they can also be a huge threat to your company reputation. You have to be aware of what your staff are posting online, make sure you create a social media policy outlining what is and what is not acceptable for them to say about the company online.
Secondly, don’t underestimate the influence of your CEOs reputation on your company’s reputation as a whole. Weber Shandwick’s research into the role of the CEO on reputation found that 81% of executives agreed it was important for CEOs to have a visible public profile for a company to be highly regarded. At the very least, your company’s CEO should have a professional social media account to actively push the company’s messaging and trends and updates within the industry.
Know what your rivals are doing: If something is working for competitors and market leaders, then you’re well within your rights to try it yourself. Not only can you spot trends, but also emerging gaps in the market for your company.
Know what people are saying: Understand what the public, press and everyone else is saying online. You can set up Google Alerts for your company, but it’s even more beneficial to pay attention to what is happening on social media and forums. You will gain an understanding of how your company is perceived in the marketplace and whether you need to take steps to improve its positioning. Reviews can be managed and used to find recurring problems within your company.
Know the market: A recent trend is towards mobile devices, with people now searching for companies and individuals on-the-go. 80% of internet users now own a smartphone, which is changing online habits and preferences for businesses. You need to make sure therefore that your customers can find you easily on their smartphones, take steps to optimise your website for mobile, making it responsive and optimising for mobile and local searches.
Control your page one
According to the Chitika Online Advertising Network, “Sites listed on the first Google search results page generate 92% of all traffic from an average search. When moving from page one to two, the traffic dropped by 95%, and by 78% and 58% for the subsequent pages”. By simply searching your company’s name and looking at page one on Google, you will instantly be aware of the visibility and reputation your company is portraying online.
Having your own websites and online profiles populating page one for your company’s keywords and phrases, means traffic is more likely to come your way. It also reduces the likelihood of any unwanted material or comments from ranking. If you look at pages two and three, it can be useful to look for sites which could be better optimised and may move up the rankings when used effectively.
Create a social media strategy
Not only does your company need a strategy for promoting itself and creating a positive reputation online, it also needs one for response. Social media is evolving all the time, with companies promoting brands worldwide but also customers expressing their feelings. It is worthwhile to have a response strategy set up on your website, so that disgruntled customers deal with you directly and you can look to deal with the problem in-house.
For those comments made on social media, rather than looking to remove them it is more beneficial to encourage people to contribute positively. A social media customer service response strategy is important to implement if you want to keep your clientele happy – at all times.
Enhancing your company’s online reputation and making sure you remain reputable go hand-in-hand. If you’d like further advice on how to ensure that your online assets are optimised for desktop and mobile devices, get in touch with me in complete confidence at firstname.lastname@example.org or on tel: +44 (0) 203 542 8689.